Hello and welcome to Planet Kayfabe. It's the Tuesday after Elimination Chamber. If you're wondering why I'm a day late, I'll tell you and if you follow me on Twitter you know exactly why. There is a new guitar in my family as of yesterday and if you are interested in guitars... follow my Twitter ;-) I posted a picture and video.
Back to the Chamber or... "historic" Elimination Chamber if you're one of the brainwashed masses, I nailed all of my picks as I'm sure most of you did as well since this was more of the more predictable PPV's WWE has produced in a while. Outside of one moment, which I'll get to, nothing really surprised me. Anyway for those that still care, let's break down the good and the bad.
Alexa Bliss' Swerve: One of the highlights of the show was Alexa channeling in her inner Mark Henry baiting the crowd with a tear jerking promo. She played this up perfectly and acted like she was truly brought to tears herself... before shitting on the crowd and saying none of them will ever accomplish their dreams like her.
This was great. I was hooked in. At first I was kinda rolling my eyes and thinking that they're really watering her down as a heel by having her break character to cut this one-off babyface promo and then we saw the whole picture. She didn't break character once. She's just in super-heel mode at the perfect time of year and at the perfect moment when those fans had to take their "you deserve it" chant straight back up their asses.
Ronda Rousey's Contract Signing: In my opinion this was the best segment of the show. I wouldn't say the segment was great because the promo work was pretty rough. Ronda needs to gain some confidence behind the mic, which could happen in time. Kurt Angle on the other hand you would think really was suffering from a bad case of the flu like Hunter said. I love Kurt, we all do, but this isn't anything new. Since he's come back he's bumbled his lines quite a bit. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's years of brain damage (not joking or taking a cheap shot by the way so don't call me a dick for that) or he's just not good with scripts. WWE wasn't as scripted as it is now back during his original run and I'm sure in TNA he had as much promo freedom as anyone.
Cringe promos aside the angle was very well done. So, to me this was similar to the women's Elimination Chamber match where the work wasn't great but the match still delivered a good story. That's what this was. Kurt throwing his superiors under the bus was great. It did what it was supposed to do and that's get Ronda over as a babyface who has gotten very mixed reactions or mostly boos whenever her name is brought up on TV. Triple H, who got the pop of the night when he came out ended up getting tossed through a table by Ronda which got a great reaction. So, good on WWE. They did everything right here. Including not having Ronda attack Stephanie back... yeah... you're gonna have to wait until Wrestlemania to see that.
Braun's Dominance and Alexa's Heel Work: I had to have more than 2 things in "the good" section and here I'm talking about the Chamber matches. I don't think either of them were great. They were just fine matches that no one will really remember a week from now. Alexa played a good scared heel and got a few good spots in, one of which off the pod Sasha Banks decided to no-sell for some reason. f***ing weird. I don't know what's up with Sasha, too. They put over her "Frog Splash" as paying homage to her hero Eddie Guerrero but if it was a Frog Splash it was one of the saddest looking Frog Splashes ever. Now I know I've never so much as laced a pair of boots, but the "frog" part in the Frog Splash requires you to tuck your arms and legs and jump... like a frog. This was just a splash. Might as well call it the "Minus Five Star Frog Splash". I would say the women's Chamber match was slightly better than the men's though but marginally since neither were great.
Braun was a great monster in this match. The only shame is that it was all for Roman to look good which he barely did because Braun got his heat back by attacking him at the end of the match. There was also NO follow-up to this attack the next night on Raw. I usually hate the post-match "get your heat back" spot and this was no different. If they wanted Braun to look strong after the match they should have just had him win. I guess they were just trying to make sure the fans went home happy by having (remind you: their top babyface) get beat up to close the show. Okay... Not sure what this did for Roman, but like I said there was no follow-up on Raw. Instead Braun focused on Elias of all people in the match... OKAY.... Uh......
Oh wait I forgot I was still in "the good" portion.
Predictable AF: Like I said at the start of this column, I and I'm sure most of you picked all the winners of this PPV. Shows like this are going to happen and maybe there is nothing they could have done but WWE in this era is very status quo, very formulaic and often times very predictable. This brings me to my next point...
Weak Live Crowd: If you were there and reading this don't worry, I got your back. Yes the crowd had no heat, but I don't blame them. For as much shit as I give WWE live crowds today for chanting random nonsense and trying to get their own shit in and hit their spots instead of just following the show I will not take it out on a crowd if they are showing no interest in a show or match. That is up to WWE and up the wrestlers involved to get the fans hot. Predictable was the name of this PPV and plagued it from the start. These fans knew what they were going to see before it happened. They used to say "anything can happen in WWE". It sure doesn't feel this way and other than Alexa's swerve, nothing surprised this crowd and nothing surprised most of us watching at home. I mean, were you personally sitting on the edge of your seat watching "Woken" Matt and Bray Wyatt, two crazy characters, just having a standard singles match in a wrestling ring? Hell no you weren't. You knew Matt was going to win because Bray won at Raw 25 and it doesn't take that hardcore of a fan to get the jump on WWE's booking patterns. You want a hot crowd? Give them a hot angle. Give them a hot product. None of that was on this show. The chamber matches had no heat going in. The most hyped thing on the card was a non-wrestling segment. So what do you expect? There's a reason why this PPV sold like shit. There was no fan interest from the start.
Bray Wyatt is dead: I'm so done with this character and so was much of the crowd. If you watched his match with Matt Hardy you would think the crowd wasn't that into it. If you listen carefully you'd see that it was just Bray that they were not into. They reacted to Matt. They chanted with him and reacted to his offense. They popped for his victory. Bray on the other hand was met with random calls of boredom any time he had to take control of the match. This character is so dead.
Also, for the record I told you before Matt even came back to WWE that Broken vs Wyatt would be a mistake. Bray is too far gone a gimmick. The initial charm and intrigue is completely gone. The bloom has been off the rose for years now. Matt wants to make Bray "obsolete"? He was obsolete before the Hardy Boyz even made their comeback last year. For anyone who said "wait and see" now you know. You may still think I'm being impatient but it doesn't matter what they do. Look at Bray's recent career. He's been in a string of shit feuds including this one and going back to Balor, to Orton, to Undertaker, to John Cena. The list goes on. The guy needs some serious revamping. This whole cutting weird promos that are all starting to sound the same and then eating a pin for your troubles gimmick isn't working.
Of course the next time Bray took out Heath Slater in his usual post-PPV "we still want you to take Bray Wyatt seriously" segment on Raw to call out Matt Hardy so I guess this feud must continue. Is this what you envisioned "Broken" and Wyatt to be? Two guys laughing and having regular matches in a wrestling ring?
There's my thoughts on this year's Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. It was not a great show but it wasn't entirely bad either. It was just okay for me so I give this show a "C" if I had to give it a letter grade. On a (non-wrestling) message board I frequent there is an open thread about WWE and wrestling in general. Someone left a post saying fans can't be that pissed about Roman Reigns winning since they've known that's been the plan for a year. Someone else later replied "a kick in the nuts still hurts even if you see it coming". I thought that was great and had to include it here. Good point. If you're wondering why that main event had no heat... well, that's why. Everyone has known for a year that Roman Reigns is going to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in the main event for the Universal Title. It doesn't matter how hot Braun Strowman has gotten or how good Seth Rollins has looked recently. Their plan is Roman Reigns and despite having at best the 3rd most momentum of the guys in that match WWE will not break from their plan.
This whole John Cena angle is the dumbest shit possible too. There isn't a single person over the age of 5 years old that thinks John Cena is in danger of not being at this year's Wrestlemania. The whole story is ridiculous. It's funny too because you'd think if John just wants to have a match at Wrestlemania so bad that some young guy would try to make a name for himself by challenging John at the biggest show of the year but... no. Guess not. I guess working with John Cena just isn't that big of a deal to the WWE locker room. Whatever. Tonight he is going to be on Smackdown to where we pretend that he's not going to wrestle Undertaker at Wrestlemania for a couple of weeks until he appears and ominously glances at the big purple Wrestlemania sign. The crowd popped huge when Cena brought up this match on Raw but I don't get it. Two big names, but I can see the actual match being pretty sad and I don't want to be sad watching those two guys work -- especially Undertaker.
Thanks for reading, everyone. I appreciate your thoughts so leave a comment below or tweet me @PlanetKayfabe where I pretty much respond to everyone so hit me up there and I'll catch you here next time for Planet Kayfabe I'm Paul Matthews. Enjoy the rest of